Advantage: Wide Receivers
The Baltimore Ravens receiving corp should be at an advantage against New England Patriots secondary this Sunday. New England’s secondary is improving, but is not an elite unit like the Pittsburgh Steelers or N.Y. Jets. In fact, New England is ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed (272.2 yards per game); and their overall defense is ranked 29th in total yards given up (384.5 yards per game).
Two cornerbacks the Ravens receivers will be facing are sophomore Darius Butler and rookie Devin McCourty. Both corners are talented, but they will face a more experienced Ravens receiving unit. As it stands now, Devin McCourty would cover Anquan Boldin, and you can bet the Patriots will try to provide some help to in that match-up with some double coverage.
Now & Then
In last year’s regular season game in New England, Derrick Mason had success in the first part of the game, scoring a touchdown. But the Patriots defense doubled their efforts on Mason and were able to contain him for most of the second half.
However, this year is a little different because the Ravens have more weapons on offense. This poses a greater challenge for the Patriots defense; if the Patriots decide to roll their coverage or double team Boldin, then another receiver such as T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Mason will have a good chance of getting open.
What to look for
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron will be looking at the Patriots defense closely to see if he can create a mismatch against their secondary.
Though Randy Moss is no longer with the team, the Patriots can still put up points as they rank first in points scored (32.8 points per game). With Moss gone, the Ravens secondary will likely change their priorities.
The defense can now redirect their efforts to containing two of the Patriots most dangerous offensive weapons: rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez, who excels in yardage after the catch, and Wes Welker, Brady’s ‘go to’ receiver.